'Severe' Rat Infestation Plagues TriBeCa Lot, Health Official Says

By Irene Plagianos on January 16, 2014 6:36am 

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 A Department of Health official said several spots in TriBeCa, including 403 Greenwich St., an empty lot that sits next to Wolfgang's Steakhouse, are suffering from rat infestations.
TriBeCa's Rat Problem
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TRIBECA — These rats have good taste.

An empty lot at 403 Greenwich St., which sits between upscale Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and specialty coffee shop Kaffe 1668, has a “severe” rat infestation, a Department of Health official said.

“Several locations in TriBeCa have issues with rats, but we determined that 403 Greenwich, an empty lot, has a severe infestation,” Caroline Bragdon, a research scientist with the Department of Health's division of veterinary and pest control services, said at a recent Community Board 1 meeting.

The rat issue is not news to neighboring Wolfgang's Steakhouse, according to manager Sal Patrissi.

“We really want this taken care of," Patrissi said. "People in the neighborhood, customers, they think we have the rat problem. They come out at night, and these guys can be really big, at least a foot long.”

“You see them scurrying across the sidewalk," he added. "It’s not pretty."

The restaurant received an “A” grade for its last health inspection and, according to records, has never had any violation related to rats.

But the daily garbage from Wolfgang's has likely become a food source for the rats burrowed into the unpaved lot next door, said Bragdon, the Health Department scientist.

Bragdon said the Department of Health issued a notice to 403 Greenwich Enterprises, the company that owns the lot, asking them to fix the rat problem.

A man reached at an office of 403 Greenwich Enterprises said the company had already acted on the DOH notice.

The man, who declined to give his name, said the company received the notice before Christmas and recently hired an exterminator, who has already treated the property.

The lot has been empty since last year, when a two-story brick building was demolished to make way for an eight-story residential tower. It was not immediately clear when construction would begin on the site.

The vacant lot isn't the only problem in the neighborhood. Beach Street, North Moore Street and Hubert Street also have rat problems the Health Department has worked to curb with anti-rodent treatments, Bragdon said.

She asked residents to call 311 and Community Board 1 when they spot rats.

Several locals shared their own rat encounters at the CB1 meeting. 

“I was stopped at a light at Beach and Greenwich the other night, and it was like a horror movie,” said CB1 member Allan Tannenbaum. "Big rats running everywhere."

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